Your Roman Holiday, May 2014

 “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
– Saint Augustine

May . 2014. Rome. Private tour group.
Day 5 will be our SketchCrawl and/or Free Day.

My husband Val and I are leading a group with EF Tours next year and we have seats just waiting for you! This is a once in a lifetime journey and I cannot wait to share it with you.

This City Stay: Rome tour is no longer offered to the public, but we can and are running this through EF as a private tour. At this time, we will not be offering the two-day extension into Venice, but we may revisit that idea later.

Here are the facts:

  • Open to adults and college students over the age of 21. Easier if we want to do a wine tour.
  • Round-trip flights.
  • Land transportation.
  • Hotels with private bathrooms.
  • Light breakfast daily and two (2) local dinners.
  • A full-time native EF Tour Director.
  • Entry to the following: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • One (1) experiential learning activity. (part of EF)
  • Sightseeing tours of Rome and Vatican City.


Traveling with an artist has its advantages. Come with us to Rome and you will also get these goodies:

  • A handmade bag full of goodies from me INCLUDING a handmade journal with info sheets about our trip, places to keep notes and things you collect along the way, as well as…well, more surprises.
  • A one-day SketchCrawl event where we can meet up with other artists who live in Rome. You will get to study the architecture, the people, and maybe even be included in our magazine‘s Drawn Butter column if you sketch your food! We will be setting this event up through their forum.
  • Basic curricula in Art, Architecture, and Roman Culture.
  • Basic language lessons from Val in Italian. Val is developing some basic lessons to get you started before the trip that we can all practice. We’ll set up a private email group once we get people registered.
  • Your own personal Latin translator. Rome is covered in Latin phrases and Val will help you learn how to read them.


A husband-and-wife team with passions for travel, Italian culture, food and wine, this will be our second trip to Europe and promises to be a trip full of awe, wonder, and fun. I cannot tell you how excited we are about this trip. Here, get to know us a little better…



Ana Maria Selvaggio (me)
An illustrator, writer, and avid journaler, I hold a Creative Writing MFA, as well as a graduate certificate in Educational Media Design & Technology. Previously an Architectural Design major, my influence for the trip will focus on the Art and Architecture of the city of Rome. We will be sketching, taking photos, eating, and soaking in all the sights and sounds of the city. We will be both tourists and explorers as we go off the beaten paths to experience Rome in the most magical ways possible.




Val Michael Selvaggio
Fluent in both Classical Latin and (soon-to-be) Italian, Val holds a Masters degree in Curriculum Design & Instruction. K-12 Certified in Latin, and an avid student of Roman Culture for most of his life, Val dreams in Italian. He’s fun, lively, and has a real passion for Italy and Rome.

(Val writes me poetry in Latin, so to say he has a passion for the language is an understatement.)






We can take more than 14, but we are choosing to keep the group small, cozy, and interactive. Just think, dinners by candle and moonlight with the sounds of the city around us. And stars! Chatting over meals, sharing the day’s finds, looking over sketchbooks, making art and eating some of the best food in the world…and gelato!


Register here:
Please note: Day 5 will be our SketchCrawl and/or Free Day.

If you want in on the trip, you can register directly through the link above. If you have any questions, contact me (Ria) via email at ria dot selvaggio at gmail dot com and I will connect you with our rep at EF Tours.

We get a 200.00 discount if we register before Feb 28th, 2013.

The price for this tour will increase as we get closer to the tour dates. For anyone who has traveled, you know this price is a good one.


I have spent my whole life wanting to travel, to see the world before someone pushes a button somewhere and blows it all up for good. I got tired of saying “someday” and I am making it happen. After hosting a student from Hong Kong last year, and getting more involved with EF Homestay Programs, my family and I were bitten seriously hard by the longing to travel. I always said I couldn’t afford it but, honestly, I can’t afford not to.

I had priced around and was amazed at how doable this was. For everything I just told you about, AS OF THIS POST your total cost is less than 3600.00 per adult. Students are slightly less. That’s everything except a few meals and spending money! For a week in Rome? Priceless.

THE PRICE WILL INCREASE THOUGH! We have to make sure we jump in while we can and get our payment schedules set up. They can auto-debit it out of our bank accounts monthly and, before we know it, we’re on a plane to Rome!

I will try to post updates as the price increases. It is my hope that you make “someday” happen now though.

This video is of their normal tours where they combine groups. WE WILL NOT BE COMBINING OUR GROUP. We are running this with EF as a private tour group so it will be JUST US AND YOU. Everything else is the same, except day 5 on the itinerary is a free day.

Come join us!


2011, the year of FABULOUS

It has been a while since I have posted, life tends to scoop me up and carry me along with it most times. I jump off the carousel and run back to the beginning to start all over, picking up new things along the way that I may have passed by.

The year started out with the death of my external hard drive. I was using for it as a supplement for my main drive and, well, it led a good life having tolerated me for three years of hard, daily use. It is, on a bad note however, holding 168GB of my life hostage…writing, art, all my music, my client work, everything. So, I am learning to adapt.

This year is about renewal for me, a renewal of self and the things that drive me. About breaking old habits, forming new ones, and being thankful for the time in between. Instead of waiting for a better situation to come along, I am making one.

Working for my Self.

One of the decisions that I have made is that I am no longer accepting new clients*. I have had far too many of my own projects go undone, sitting in journals, waiting for me to pick them up and bring them to life. I can work on someone else’s projects, or I can invest that time into my self and my family and work toward getting paid. Family and self won out.

*I have some current clients that are fabulous, and will continue my work with them, but I am at a comfortable, manageable work load right now so I will not be taking on anything new.

Art for Cures

Art for Cures is resurrecting this month from the ashes after a three year pile up. Yup, three years. (Thankfully I am not alone, as I have run into others who have been breathing through straws under their own avalanches for longer than I have.) The guilt piles up as much as the work does, but I am finally out from under after sneaking time in between work, college, homeschooling, and daily life. I have a plethora of updates coming in the next week and will be posting a few things to both our Etsy and my eBay account.

Art for Cures is also, God willing, going to become a non-profit this year. We are going through the planning preparations now and I will have more updates on the AFC site in the coming weeks.

More thank yous than I can count to the friends and members I have been blessed with who have stuck by me, I could not be doing any of it without you guys. MWAH Your support and love have been the one thing that has kept me moving forward.

Pen in Hand

My writing, other than running Word Whimsy, has been on the back-burner so long my characters have all started pelting me with rocks and small, sharp, projectile implements. Odonatia, Coffee Cartel, Making Art from Non_Cents, and Clementine’s Garden are all on the goal list for this year though I am planning on doing the “book happy dance” with my friend Pam Carriker with at least one caffeinated book soon. Congratulations Pam! HUGS You can pick up her new book on Etsy or on Amazon.

Full sailing ahead.

One of the biggest dilemmas for me recently has been which school to pursue once I have graduated in March. I am graduating with my BFA in Visual Communications, Digital Design (basically the degree for what I have been doing for 24 years) and have already started the enrollment process with Full Sail in Winter Park, Florida.

I grew up around and loved the Winter Park area. It is commercially overrun now, like most places, a lot of the quaint independent shops that were unique to the area having had to make way for larger corporate shops they, sadly, couldn’t compete with. I still have a huge poster-sized menu from the old East India Ice Cream Company (any of you remember that place?) that we used to frequent. The park is still there, and my tree with its sitting branch best for train watching that my grandmother and I used to frequent, as well as a few old busking spots. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is what really drove me to become an artist full-time and, while I don’t attend the show anymore, or at least not near as frequently, it still holds fond memories. We have a similar show, FAFO, that we enjoy and attend every year here locally.

I will be starting my MFA in Creative Writing the first week of May then plan to move on to their Game Art program. The reason the decision was so difficult is because of accreditation, or lack thereof. I have my own goals and projects, though, and I look forward to having both degrees under my belt.

I also used to work for a rubber stamp store in Winter Park and there is nothing better than getting paid to play and create, well maybe…

Art grows on trees.

After a great deal of thinking, I have decided to postpone Gumtree’s launch until June of this year. We need the extra time to build stock as well as get all of our paperwork in order. I feel it was a necessary decision though as, with my external drive in possible permanent limbo, there is more that can be done so that our launch is as smooth and seamless as it can be. I know that when we do launch it will be an incredible experience and one I have been looking forward to for years.

Gallery exhibit July 2011, Winter Park Florida

All paths seem to lead to Winter Park lately! The Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project will be exhibiting at Full Sail’s gallery in July and I am proud to have one of my original journals in it. I am mailing it out on Friday and will be posting a video walk-through of it on my YouTube channel this weekend.

We don’t need no stickin’ genre.

Dragonfly Press Publishing, formerly a venue for zines and other small press publications, launched itself as a small, private publishing company last year with its first title, Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly.

Ophir E. Vellenoweth, also the band leader for Buddy O & the Dancemasters has been a delight to work with and I am currently typesetting another book for him, a work of fiction entitled Tales of the Colstops. I am looking forward to presenting it to you soon. He is currently working on a sequel to Colstops and another book within the Freemasonry genre. Freemasonry through the Jaundiced Eye of a West Virginia Hillbilly is now available in digital download format or hardcover.

Dragonfly Press Publishing will be releasing at least one zine this year, possibly Kraft Paper Muse which has been reorganizing with support in the background.

I’m drooling…

They finally did it. They, in this case, being Paper Source and they have an at-home, tabletop Letterpress Machine!paper source letterpress machine

I have several projects that I have been researching printers for, all Letterpress, and there was no way I could afford it, so they have sat collecting dust instead of bolstering sales. Having a machine I can use at-home opens so many doors. :::dreamy sigh::: Not to mention all the fabulous stuff we could do with Art for Cures.

My 40th birthday is Friday O_O so I think that is a little short notice, but this one is definitely going on my Christmas Wish List!!

Rest in Peace Patrick

Sadly, it is official. Actor Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully in his sleep today, family at his side. He was 57.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Photo credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

He went peacefully, which is all anyone can ask for and I am happy for that. From everything I had ever read or heard about him, he was a great man and will be sorely missed. Prayers go out to his friends and family. Rest in peace Patrick…

Brickfish Competition, help me pay for school!

I am always looking for scholarship money and Brickfish is always running campaigns. I graduate with my BFA this September but plan to go on to a Masters in Education so I’m racking up the school loans. Come vote for me and comment! If I make the top cut I’ll get money toward school. WOOT hehe

EXHIBITION | Life Imitates Art January 17th

I am going to be in a charity event on January 17th with my own exhibition area as well as a table full of greeting cards and other goodies. If you are local to the Ocala, Florida area I would love it if you came and showed your support!

ART EXHIBIT | Life Imitates Art

Tickets are 50.00 which includes both receptions, the exhibit and the live theater performances as well as the silent auction. I will also have one piece (possibly two) in the auction as well. For more information, you can download a copy of my full-size flyer here. Help me get the word out!

Threadless design submitted for approval

After posting that one of my new designs was up for critique on Threadless yesterday, I got a lot of wonderful replies in support of the image. I have officially submitted it into the running and hope to hear back some positive news in the next 4-8 business days. Once they have approved it (note my positive attitude), it will go up for voting and I will be emailing everyone again.

Zen Coffee - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me that it is well-received. There is a lot of money at stake, over $2,000 if it gets voted into being, and I’d love to be able to give my family a nice Christmas as well as eat a large chunk out of my bills. hehe Wish me luck!

NEW Design on Threadless | Zen Coffee

I have a new design on Threadless, one of several I am posting for critique this week. If you would, please drop in and take a look at it; I’d love to hear your thoughts on it:

NEW Design on Threadless | Zen Coffee

It is up for critique right now but I hope to push it into the running. If it wins and is chosen by Threadless to become a t-shirt, it is $2,000 in cash up front (that I could definitely use toward school loans hehe), another $500 as a Threadless gift certificate (or $200 in cash), $500.00 every time it reprints, and more if it wins an award! WHEN :::hopeful::: it goes into the running I will post a link for voting.

Thank you for your time and support!